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Chapter 661: You guys can go duke it ou

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    Han Yunxi asked in a low voice, "Long Feiye, what's the real cause of death?"

    "Internal injuries," Long Feiye murmured back.

    "Internal injuries..." Han Yunxi didn't know whether to laugh or cry. "Just what happened?"

    "Internal injuries were used to fatally wound the internal organs. It doesn't leave any traces on the surfaces, but everything would have been clear if they performed the dissection," Long Feiye muttered.

    "You can still fatally wound organs without leaving a trace on the surface? That isn't something just anyone can do, right?" Han Yunxi asked next.

    "Celestial Mountain's internal energy method can do the deed," Long Feiye said honestly.

    Han Yunxi realized the extent of their danger just then. If Duanmu Yao had been hardhearted enough to allow the dissection, then the truth would have been exposed to everyone! Anyone who knew the ways of Celestial Mountain's internal energy arts had to be either Long Feiye himself or one of his subordinates. Here was the true definition of "kill without spilling blood"-an idiom meaning to kill someone in a subtle way.

    Han Yunxi's heart was filled with emotions. She fell silent for a while, then asked, "Long Feiye, Empress Xue was innocent, wasn't she?"

    "Her status already made it impossible for her to be innocent in anything," Long Feiye replied coldly.

    Han Yunxi wanted to argue, but she didn't know how. In the end, she asked, "Then what about the status of Qin Wangfei?"

    Long Feiye looked at her with knitted brows. "What are you thinking of now?"

    "A single general's reputation is made of out ten thousand corpses; what millions died that Caesar might be great. Just how many piles of bones make up the glorious and honorable position of an imperial throne?" Han Yunxi sighed with feeling.

    "It's a doomed destiny to build a throne from a pile of bones. The difference lies in who sits upon that seat and whether they can lead a flourishing age, thus preventing any further famines, unrest, vagrants and displaced in Cloud Realm Continent." Long Feiye's gaze couldn't help but pass over Duanmu Yao as he spoke, the pupils still ice cold. They was no trace of pity or sympathy in his eyes. After such a roundabout trip, the pieces still ended up within his grasp. Now Ning Cheng and Duanmu Yao could fight between themselves as they liked.

    Han Yunxi almost forgot about this man's grand aspirations. Now she remembered them once again. She locked her fingers with his and declared, "Long Feiye, I'll be by your side!"

    Long Feiye tightened his grip on her hand without a word. But before they left, he approached Cao Tong and asked, "Where's the acupuncture needle?"

    Cao Tong produced the needle, which Long Feiye snatched back. "The item should return to its rightful owner."

    Cao Tong only looked up at him with a smile. What else could he say? The acupuncture needle was esteemed wangfei's, after all. Moreover, even if it wasn't hers, he wouldn't be able to reject His Highness Duke of Qin's domineering air and demands.

    "The item should return to its rightful owner," Han Yunxi smiled as she held out her hand.

    "From today on, anything you lose shall be the property of your lordship. Don't even think of getting it back," Long Feiye said unhappily.

    Han Yunxi only held her resentment back and didn't argue. She decided that she should be more careful in the future so she didn't court trouble again. Long Feiye wrapped the needled in a handkerchief before placing it in his sleeve. Han Yunxi knew that his mysophobic self would definitely take the needle for a thorough washing once they got back...

    Duanmu Yao was still kneeling on the ground and crying, but Han Yunxi and Long Feiye had long left the scene. To them, this matter was now over. One thing was for certain: Chu Qingge and Ning Cheng had fabricated evidence to trick Duanmu Yao. They now carried the greatest suspicion as Empress Xue's murderers!

    Han Yunxi thanked Cao Tong before she made to leave, but Pill King hurried after her. "Lass, why not stay here a few more days?"

    He made it sound as if they were very close. But thanks to his attempt to keep her there in the past, Long Feiye had a thoroughly sour reputation of the Medicine Hut. Before Han Yunxi could answer, he was already asking, "Is there anything else?"

    Pill King had a bad impression of Long Feiye too. He had long figured that Han Yunxi might had agreed to stay with him in the first place if it wasn't for this man! Still, he was a shrewd old fox who wouldn't offend him in front of Han Yunxi. Wearing a kindly smile,  he said, "Nothing important, you two take care on the road. Lass, you...you have to take a good look at that medical text."

    "Yes, yes, I'm reading it," Han Yunxi said simply. But her attitude was better than before, and she didn't treat Pill King with much antagonism now. Cao Tong only saw the entire scene with a heart full of astonishment. He knew that Han Yunxi was the Pill King's disciple, but never thought she'd be so relaxed in his presence. Wasn't she someone living in fortune without knowing fortune!? If Pill King hadn't agreed to hand over the Rising Dead, how could she have escaped guilt so easily? Really, she was too wanton!

    Pill King only sent Han Yunxi and Long Feiye both off with wide smiles. He didn't care about Han Yunxi's attitude at all. Her behavior towards her was much better than last time. Finally, I'm safe in her position as master. To have such a genius as my disciple means I didn't spend my years at the Medicine Hut in vain!

    He chuckled as he turned, only to turn stern at the sight of Cao Tong and Duanmu Yao.

    "Why aren't you both leaving yet?" he urged rudely.

    Cao Tong quickly paid his respects. "Old senior, I've disturbed you. This one shall withdraw."

    Duanmu Yao was still crying and lost in the throes of her grief. Cao Tong felt sorry for her and went back to add a few comforting words. "Princess Duan, let's go. Don't hurt your eyes from crying."

    "Princess Duan, come and go recover your body. Only then can you take revenge for your imperial mother, right?"

    The word "revenge" lit a fire under Duanmu Yao's combative spirit. She rose to her feet, voice cold. "Chu Qingge, I swear not to stop until I've had my vengeance!"

    Three days after Cao Tong and Duanmu Yao left the Medicine Hut, news spread all across Cloud Realm Continent. Thanks to Cao Tong's participation in the matter, Western Zhou's Emperor Kangcheng was convinced without a doubt. He angrily sent his troops towards the western borders of Fenglin Prefecture and warned Ning Cheng that he'd wash Tianning in blood for the empress's sake unless he handed over the Chu Clan troops!

    Duanmu Yao revigorated herself and brought an entire team of swordswomen from Celestial Mountain to push an empty coffin full of blood and water to the front gates of West Jing city, demanding that Chu Qingge come out and meet her in person. In any case, tensions were mounting between the two countries.

    Ning Cheng was busy teaching Ning Jing a lesson back at Cloud Realm Trade Consortium when the news forced him to rush back to the capital. As soon as he saw Chu Qingge, he raged, "How did you handle this?! What did you agreed to your lordship back then?"

    Ning Cheng was no fool. If Chu Qingge hadn't said she'd found a reliable agent to recreate a fake wound, he never would have taken this risk.

    "Cao Tong didn't find out that the wound was faked. They used a miracle drug from the Medicine Hut to recover the corpse to its former state!" Chu Qingge hastened to explain. "Ning Cheng, just who killed Empress Xue? How did she die?"

    Ning Cheng only looked at her coldly. He didn't want to waste any more words with this woman! If Empress Xue wasn't murdered by Long Feiye's men, their skills should have uncovered the cause of death ages ago. But they'd failed both that and uncovering the murderer. Instead, they'd somehow left Duanmu Yao convinced that they and the Chu Clan were to blame. It really was an absolute counter. Now that the corpse was gone, he and the Chu Clan had no choice but to be scapegoats.

    "Ning Cheng, what do we do now? Emperor Kangcheng's stance looks probable for war!" Chu Qingge cried.

    Ning Cheng didn't answer. He was more concerned about Duanmu Yao. Long Feiye must have provoked the relations between the Chu Clan and that girl for a reason. The central regions of Cloud Realm Continent belonged to old, established aristocratic families. Its eastern end was the territory of merchants, while its western regions were under sway of the lawless jianghu. The Three-Way Battlefield and a thousand li around it were filled with such forces from the martial arts circles. Now that they'd offended Duanmu Yao, they might as well have made enemies out of Celestial Mountain Sword Sect and half of the martial arts groups. This was truly a conundrum!

    Ning Cheng's face turned black as he thought over the implications. At this moment, an eunuch rushed into the room. "Your Highness Duke of Ning, the army reported that the three shipments of army grain from the black markets were all plundered en route."

    "Where were they robbed?" Ning Cheng exclaimed.

    "Lasting Void Peak. As soon as they entered the mountains, they were attacked," the eunuch replied. That was the territory of the Lasting Void Faction. Aside from them, who else had the daring to steal on their lands?

    Ning Cheng slammed a fist on the table. "Send orders that all military shipments are to increase their guards against the forces of the jianghu! Moreover, get in touch with Carefree City and the City of Daughters and have their young city lords find your lordship. Tell them I have things to discuss!"

    The eunuch hastened to pass on his words, while Chu Qingge looked deathly pale. "Ning Cheng, once we start fighting with Western Zhou and Duanmu Yao brings the martial arts circles to help, then wouldn't we..."

    "Don't worry," Ning Cheng cut her off. "The final culprit of Empress Xue's death was the Chu Clan. It has nothing to do with Tianning."

    It was clear that they were going to make Chu Tianyin shoulder the blame! Chu Qingge understood his words. She hesitated, almost wanting to plea mercy for her brother. But in the end she remained silent. She still remembered how she ended up here in the first place because of Chu Tianyin and their father's careful schemes. She had been hardhearted towards herself for ages now. Why should she stop to show pity for anyone else at a time like this?

    Smiling, she said, "Handing over Chu Tianyin and the Chu Clan isn't a bad idea. In any case, their Driving Arrow archers aren't of much use now."

    Ning Cheng simply made to leave, but suddenly remembered something and doubled back. "Where is your lordship's item?"

    "What item?" Chu Qingge was lost.

    "The acupuncture needle!" Ning Cheng demanded. "Don't tell me you've lost it!"

    Chu Qingge finally recalled the item, but only felt helpless. "I....I....that thing, I-I gave it to Duanmu Yao, but..."

    "It's lost?" Ning Cheng didn't wait for her explanation.

    Chu Qingge didn't even dare to see Duanmu Yao in person, so how could she know where it went? She had no way to answer him.

    "You better bring it back. Otherwise, your lordship will hand you over with the Chu Clan as well!" Ning Cheng snapped before stalking off.

    "You! Ning Cheng, what do you mean by that?!" Chu Qingge fumed. She tried to chase him, but failed to keep up. "This Empress isn't even worth the value of a single needle belonging to Han Yunxi? Ning Cheng, what do you need that needle for?"

    -

    As soon as Ning Cheng left, he found one of his retainers and asked coldly, "Where's the item?"

    "To reply master, this subordinate was unable to approach the Medicine Hut, so I'm uncertain where it ended up," the retainer replied.

    Ning Cheng's face fell. After a period of silence, he asked, "Can you find another one?"

    The retainer only felt the difficulty and wanted to reply, but a warm voice interrupted them both. "Duke of Ning, what time is it already? You still have the mind to worry about Han Yunxi's acupuncture needle? What do you want to do?"

    Following the source of the voice revealed...
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